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Old 01-05-2015, 05:14 PM
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pluto (Hugh)
Astro Noob

pluto is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Sydney
Posts: 1,982

It depends on your budget and whether you want to start with visual observing and then buy new gear when you're ready to commit to astrophotography or whether you want to dive right in and get gear that's capable of astrophotography that you can grow into.

If you want to start with just visual observation then I think the consensus would be to grab an 8" dob, like this one:
Or even just a decent pair of binoculars to learn the sky.

I'm going to assume you want to do deep space astrophotography, like images of nebulae and galaxies?
Can I also assume you already have a DSLR?

For astrophotography I think it's generally accepted that the base mount that can produce good images is an HEQ5.

For telescopes for astrophotography there are a couple of directions you could take. You could get a reflector like this:
Or a refractor like this:
The reflector has more aperture so will gather more light, which is good, but you will need to learn to collimate it to get the most out of it.
The refractor gathers less light, so you'd need to take longer exposures, but it's capable of excellent images and it's really simple to set up.

This setup is also capable of doing images of the moon and planets but if you wanted to specialise in those kinds of images there might be other choices that would get better results, for example you'd probably look at a more specialised camera.

I'm not really familiar with that Celestron that you linked to but that scope isn't going to be great for visual observation given its relatively small aperture and that mount isn't going to be very good for astrophotography (you pretty much need an EQ mount for AP).

I started with an ED80 on an EQ5 - not HEQ5 - and while I learned heaps it was very frustrating at times and the mount did need to be upgraded relatively soon. An HEQ5 should last you well into your astrophotography hobby.
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